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Why We Don’t Do Formal Networking

November 23, 2016

This blog is about US, as a company. Not about YOU. It’s not a criticism or an attack. It’s simply to explain, once and for all, why we decline every single formal network meeting invitation that is extended to us. If these meetings work for you and you increase your client base and get more business, that’s brilliant. If you are motivated enough to get out of your cosy, warm bed for a breakfast meeting in a conference room, good on you. But I know where I’d rather be. And here’s why…

Apart from our own social media networks, we don’t overtly advertise our design business. We have spent a good few years developing and getting to know the most amazing client base – and through word of mouth and personal recommendations, they help us. Through informal networking.

People who approach us, have already done their homework. They’ve read our blogs, they’ve spoken to other clients, they’ve checked out our work, they’ve read our tweets and Facebooks posts. And so, by the time they email, or phone us, we figure they already know a fair bit about us and have sufficiently liked what they’ve seen/heard, to get in touch. We like people who do their homework – they tend to be stayers, because there’s already a connection.

And this is where formal networking leaves me cold. I don’t want to spend time basically doing a series of mini-presentations and pitches, thinly veiled as “conversations”, while people weigh me up and make judgments. I don’t want to spend time, that we can ill-afford due to current work commitments, listening to people telling me about the kind of design work or website they want, knowing full well, we’re not going to be interested. We don’t tender or pitch for work against other agencies – it’s a not a world we want to have anything to do with. We do fantastic design, are nice people and treat our clients with respect. That’s our pitch, but I can’t imagine that going down too well in a presentation. So, we don’t do it this way.

I’m sure we are viewed as a bit strange – there’s a networking meeting seemingly every day, and if we were to believe the organisers, these are the ONLY way to get new business.

Rubbish.

Be the best you can be at what you do, and new business will be generated. Not all clients stay with us – some decide on other paths, but this still doesn’t make us pull our suits* on and grab our business cards and go network. And do you know why? Because when one door closes, another always opens.

And, besides, we’re luckily far too busy actually designing for clients, to be networking with people whose business, if the truth be told, we probably don’t want. And who probably don’t want us to do their design. For us, a waste of time all round.

And it seems we’re not alone in this thinking.

*If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know that neither of us possess anything resembling a suit.

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